York Races,Ebor Festival Day 1,Juddmonte International Day,Wednesday 22nd August 2018

On the Knavesmire the famous Knavesmire a lion sleeps tonight!

No not that lion of which the song that has had many covers with the Tight Fit version being one of the more popular ones but the Qatar Racing owned Roaring Lion who has come to the top of the tree in the 3yo Colt division as he became the horse who finally broke John Gosden’s maiden tag in one of the most prestigious,famous and now officially the best 1m2f race in Europe by running away with the 2018 Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes with the sort of style and grace that one would expect from a top class middle distance performer. 

Eight went to post in a race that finally brought together the best of the 3yo generation and the older mob and after a summer of ducking and diving from both of them the generations finally came too under the muggy grey York skies on the opening day of this ever popular northern flat festival. 

They went a decent clip from the moment the starter pressed the green button and as expected the field came down the stands’ side in line for home, Roaring Lion who was on the inside going down the back had clear daylight with four furlongs to go and from then Oisin Murphy simply waited till the right moment and both jockey and horse ran clear by around four lengths from short priced favourite Poets Word who under pressure down the straight but stayed on for second over what is probably an inadequate trip for him now. 

For many the real star of the race was the David Menuisier trained Thundering Blue who continued his love affair with this place by getting third spot at 50-1 with 2000 Guineas winner back in fourth. 

Roaring Lion has come of age since the Derby by following up his win last month in the Eclipse, all eyes may probably be aimed at the Champion Stakes in October but a visit over the Irish Sea for the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown which should suit him far more. 

Roaring Lion

The day’s other two pattern races were first up the Group 3 Acome Stakes over 7f in which Phoenix Of Spain gave Lambourn trainer Charlie Hills a second success in the race as the grey landed what looked a reasonable looking contest as he came from last to first under Jamie Spencer finding a golden highway down the stands’ side just like in the opening sprint handicap and in the International to brush off the highly regarded Watan back in second place, at the moment he looks to be going the right way and could return to Yorkshire next month at Doncaster for the Champagne Stakes over 7f to continue his upward curve. 

Classic Clues came in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur over 1m4f in which eight of the nine declared held an entry in the St Leger with the only one not in Cross Corner who misses out on a technical issue due to having no testicles!

In the end what looked a top notch renewal found its way to the Charlie Appleby yard with Old Persian under the steerage of James Doyle putting in a tough afternoon at the coalface as he just held off the staying on Cross Counter to put his St Leger credentials on the line, Kew Gardens back in third ran a very eye catching race and despite the O’Brien horses not quite being at the top just yet he could have a say in the final classic of the season just over three and a half weeks time. 

Cross Counter is potentially heading down under to Australia for a go at the Melbourne Cup and the way he ran on in this race he could have a say in the result but obviously anything can happen between now and November.

It’s fair to say York showed why this meeting is always popular among racing fans and people of the north who along with the Grand National and St Leger meetings treasure it like its a priceless heirloom for which no amount of money could prize it away. 

Star of the show for sure was Roaring Lion and he is certainly the one they all have to get past now in the 10f division. 

Next up will be Sprint Cup Day at Haydock Park, till then goodbye.  

Haydock Park,Saturday 11th August 2018, Smarkets Rose Of Lancaster Stakes Day. 

Ladies Day at Haydock Park brought about the usual suspects like a Style Contest with a good array of prizes and a post racing DJ set by Vernon Kay who was taking a break from hosting the Formula E series on Channel 5 and the many very average ITV quiz shows which for some reason seem to get stopped quicker than a chaser in heavy ground for a fair and reasonable card that comes inbetween the gap that fills up the schedule between Glorious Goodwood and the York Ebor meeting. 

The afternoons feature race was a tight looking renewal of the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes with the seven runners rated from 101 to 109 it was the lowest rated who came out blooming at Haydock on Ladies Day as course specialist Teodoro pulverised the others with a dominant display of front running to land the 10f contest in brutal style to take the prize from Lancashire to Cheshire. 

Fourth in the Old Newton Cup just thirty five days ago he showed much improvement to land this under jockey Richard Kingscote for Tom Dascombe to beat a decent field and set himself up for a crack at some major prizes later in the autumn no doubt. 

In doing so he had a nice three length advantage over runner up Brorocco who himself is a reliable yardstick at this level but Teodoro was simply too good this afternoon, the winner actually came here for this as opposed to the Ebor but depending on the weather he might end up in Yorkshire in a few days time. 


Haydock’s other pattern contest was the Listed Dick Hern Stakes for the filly and mare brigade over 1m which brought a classic winner of 2017 into the Haydock winners enclosure as Unforgettable Filly in the colours of Dr Ali Ridha bounced right back to her best to land the spoils as she romped to an eight length win ahead of New Day Dawn in impressive style here, she showed signs of a revival at Ascot two weeks ago and the headgear looks to have worked the oracle with her now, a crack in higher company will now be the next step for her. 

Unforgettable Filly

Mister Belvedere from the Darlington based yard of Michael Dods completed the big race double as he landed the Ladies’ Trophy race over 1m4f, two starts back Mister Belvedere won the Queen Mother’s Cup at York and while this one had no champagne or the cash prize bonus to the winning rider as in recent years it’s still a big race and Paula Muir who was in the saddle today just got the verdict from the judge in a real thrilling finish from Birds Of Prey under Megan Nicholls but in the end it was a case of the butler getting the better of the avians!

Finally the Dascombe,Kingscote combination landed a double with the opening race a 3yo handicap over 1m being landed by No I’m Easy who appreciated being moved back up to a mile from a lowering mark of 75 to get the better of Ayutthaya by half a length, this was his first since landed a 2yo contest last year, he won this in the colours of The Groundhog Day Partnership and given his form so far this season even Punxsutawney Phil probably wouldn’t have given him a shout but he hopefully should be able to kick on now and no doubt the owners will be more than happy to relive this day over and over again!

All in all some decent racing but in a week and a half time we pop over the border to York for the first day of the Ebor meeting, till then goodbye.